We visited Royal Secrets Punta Cana for our Honeymoon June 2014.
Make sure you take a pen as we didn't and once you collect your bags you descend on chaos as they make you complete a baggage declaration before you can exit the airport and if like us you arrive with two other planes you are ram jammed into hundreds of people. Why they don't allow you to complete these on the plane is beyond me but just be prepared for this part of your dream holiday!
I will get this out of the way as we while it was disappointing we didn't let it ruin our honeymoon. We arrived at hotel greeted with champagne and provide our room information. However I had asked for a top floor room with king size bed. What we got was a ground floor room with single beds which was not set-up with honeymoon extras and had not been cleaned also looked over the staff service road. Basically total let down there was only one bath robe; no slippers; no toiletries; stains on the couch; light fitting hanging down; hairs all over the toilet door and smelled of damp plus mirror was full of condensation. What made it worse for us is when I went to explain to reception state of room they said I would have to wait two days for room I had requested or I could upgrade for 100us per person! Needless to say there was some heated discussions with manager being called who moved us to new room although still on ground floor but room was to correct standard you would expect for this hotel. I then took up the issue with rep next day and she got us sorted with room we should have had on arrival. I think what happened is we ended up in a room that had been kept on by its previous occupants for late check-out and they had forgot to re-clean it. All I will say is if you are not happy with room on arrival make sure you get the room you want as if your staying like us for 2 weeks it makes a big difference to your experience.
Apart from the first two the final room we got was great in block 5. Excellent bathroom facilities with big shower; outdoor Jacuzzi; large living area; free safe ad room is air conditioned. Air conditioning did breakdown on us after first week but once you report it at reception it gets fixed in matter of hours. Mini bar is topped up daily with 4 beers; 4 waters ; 2 cokes ; 1 diet coke; 1 sprite; 2 orange; m and m's; crisps and tonic water if you need anymore just get room service. Ice machines located in corridors. If on honeymoon you will get fresh flowers; champagne; honeymoon sign; fresh fruit and Jacuzzi prepared with oils and rose petals.
Exceptional choice of food and excellent quality. We tried all of the restaurants and Mecure the french restaurant on the Now Larimar side is superb; dishes are delicious; staff exceptional and ambiance of the restaurant is perfect...do not stay at this resort and miss out on trying this restaurant. In terms of formal dress I wondered what this would actually entail as I was worried I would have to get suited as if I was going to work which is not really what you want to do on holiday! However it is more elegant than formal dress for the a la carte restaurants I wore chinos and casual short sleeved shirt with canvas shoes and for women just a nice holiday/evening dress. All the other restaurants were excellent we tended to try the a la carte restaurants in the evening and use the buffet one for breakfast and dinner but couple of nights done buffet when you just feel like dressing casual and chilling out! Also mention Spice where you need to book at reception if you want a seat to watch chefs cook meal. One tip as some people fell for this when you dine at the a la carte restuarants they will provide you a wine menu you do not need to buy a bottle of wine you can ask for a glass of wine as part of your all inclusive some couples were buying bottles not realising they could have the normal wine.
Fantastic pool when we were there the resort was busy but you could easily get sunbeds around the pool at 9am without playing the towel game. Also you get your beach towels included which is located a couple of feet from the pool bar they neglect to tell you this at reception on check-in. The pool is fantastic we tended to stay in lazy river areas rather then the pool bar areas as if from UK the USA guests tend to gather in that area and it gets loud! The foam party is excellent make sure you join in! You have staff coming round at least every hour to provide you drinks. Also if you hear a strange noise as if a cat is in distress it isn't its just guy who cleans the pool early morning reliving his boredom!
Exceptional beach although felt sorry for staff who stood all day cleaning up sea weed to make it look perfect! Sea is amazing to cool off and relax; plenty of sunbeds; also I felt the beach bar done the best cocktails compared with pool bar. Tip: You are allowed to use the canoes for free at the hotel water centre.
Something else they neglect to say at reception is if you join in the day activities you get vouchers which you can then use to bid at the hotel auction for items such as massages! So if staying for two weeks join in and save vouchers as you have good chance of getting something in second week. The team were excellent worked tirelessly to please people. My only comment on why I could not give excellent is they don't do a two week programme so basically you get the same shows as the first week! But this is not a reflection on the standard of the shows or the people as they are excellent. What I also liked is I didn't have to worry about getting dragged up on stage to participate as the Americans fight to get up there Excellente!
Bar staff are excellent constantly bringing you drinks they would not let your beer get empty without bringing you a new one that is how attentive they are. Also watch out for them getting you on the local Mama Juana special drink have too many and you will pay for it the next day! Also watch out how much you tip as sometimes we ended up with pure alcohol no mixers lethal!
We done dolphins although I warn you now what they neglect to advise when booking is the extra cost of the photos and for the dolphins it is a rip off. We had to pay 100 dollars for CD with 20 photos on and two photos with sea lions. Also if you have more in your group price goes up! Basically the trip is chaotic you get not even half an hour with the dolphin plus lots of waiting around. You could get two excursions for price of the dolphin trip. We done para sailing that was great you pay 40 US dollars for photos also don't take bag like we done it will get wet! We also done horse back riding on beach although I do feel sorry for horses I think you have to remember by doing the excursion you are helping look after them. You get about two hours the tour is fantastic and photos were again out 30 us dollars. We also done helicopter tour and as first time in helicopter it was excellent stunning views and you take pictures and they will use your camera to take pictures for you so no extra. We also done private dining on beach cost 120 us dollars each but you get vouchers on arrival and get 60 us dollars off.
We took pesso however wish I had just tool the US dollar as that is what everything is priced in as it is US hotel.
60 USD for 7 days and it was ok speed not great though but you could get it anywhere in hotel and on the hotel beach.
I didn't really know what to do here as problem is you have so many people serving you and they are all excellent. So this is how I tipped but I think it depends on your funds and don't be daft as you need to spend your money first on excursions you want to do before you start giving it away. Also don't get caught up in some of the tip discussion boards on the web with Americans who tip for preferred service and because they only stay average 3-4 days not 14 days like UK! I tipped the maid 200 pesso every other day - the night maid ad hoc - if staying all day around the pool I tipped 200 pesso to the pool waiter but if just couple of hours after getting back of excursion no tip - buffet restaurant evening 100-150 pesso - a le carte 200-300 pesso depending on service level - evening waiter at plaza area 150-200 pesso - luggage staff 1 USD per case - I know some who tipped different people all I would say is be careful and make sure you spend the money you earned on you first then give kindness away if you can afford it...but don't feel obliged to tip everyone you meet as all the staff provided excellent service. It would be better if you could leave a tip at end of your stay that you know is shared across all staff at hotel but it just doesn't work like that unfortunately. When you leave the hotel you complete a feedback survey and at the bottom it asks who your favorite employee was and from what I understand the employee with most votes gets an extra 3 days off I chose not to complete that question as it was impossible to single one employee.
I traveled with First Choice and also upgraded to preferred club and it was worth it getting trough airport security in minutes and service and meals you get on-board. Also a special mention to our rep Bianna who was superb really nice; friendly lady who told truth about resort and excursions and always available on mornings to say hello. But watch out on welcome meeting she had our group all drunk by 11am the bar opens at 10am! Also make sure you start the day with a Mimosa! prefect refreshing drink but Jennifer at lobby bar does the best ones give a tip on this ocassion to get perfect start to the day!
Not alot else I can really add well worth the money paid...amazing staff....you get to use Now Larimar but then retreat to more quiet surrounding of the Royal Secrets while they cant cross!....if like me from UK as per some other UK reviews beware Americans are very loud especially mid day when they are hammering the pool bar also they can be quite rude to staff which annoyed me and yes they run up and down the corridors at 1am screaming like kids the after effects of the rum....basically they have a reputation in Dominican Republic as we do when visiting Greece or Spain!...Dominican's love the British they love our manners and nature I think we are a welcome relief! Ohh also be prepared for a lot of high fives and as per one American guest he was looking forward to visiting the UK next year for the Olympics...enough said!
Finally don't let bad reviews put you off as yes I agree some people might have experienced a bad service at some point in their holiday as we did when it started but they might let that ruin their holiday and not give a fair reflection on the actual total experience. For those who think this hotel is poor well they must be paying twice as much elsewhere to better this experience! Your get for what you pay for simple!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Ideally situated on the picturesque palm-studded, sugar white Playa Bavaro beach on the eastern coastline of the Dominican Republic, Secrets Royal Beach Punta Cana offers adults all the privileges of Unlimited-Luxury(R). Guests will immediately be embraced within an extraordinary environment where luxury illuminates every detail and our high level of personal service is unmatched. To ensure your romantic escape is everything you've imagined, every detail of your stay will be flawlessly provided and superbly attended to. From the fine quality linens to the daily refreshed mini bar and the unlimited premium brand beverages to the pool and beach wait service. You'll be immersed within a world of stunning architectural design coupled with resplendent views of the lush gardens, crystal-clear Caribbean Sea and dazzling swimming pools. This tranquil, romantic haven in Playa Bavaro is like nothing else you've ever experienced before. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Secrets Royal Beach Hotel Punta Cana